tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 24, 2015 5:00am-7:01am EDT
congress and the president can work together to provide our armed forces with the resources and authorities they require to keep our nation safe at a time of growing threats across the world. this morning, we'll hear from senator tom cotton and following his keynotes, i will hand off to rachel hoff, with the american action forum, who will introduce and moderate a discussion by a panel of experts -- and aaf president, douglas holts deegan. senator tom cotton was raised on his family's farm in yellow county, arkansas. he attended harvard and harvard law school and after a court ship, entered private practice. like all of us, his life was disrupted by the september 11th attacks.
he left the law and joined as infantry officer. he was deployed to iraq and also to a provinnal reinstruction team. after his military career, senator cotton served briefly in the private sector and was then elected to the u.s. house of representatives in 2012. last year, he was elected to serve in the united states senate and now serves in committees of banks, intelligence and armed services where he's chairman of the committee on air land. in his maiden speech on the senate floor last week, he warned we have quote system systemically underfunded our military. we look forward to the insights today and ask you to please join me in welcoming senator tom cotton. sen. cotton: thank you, good morning.
thanks to fpi and the aaf for hosting me this morning for the important work you do. as the senate prepares to debate and vote on a budget resolution this week, i have a very simple message this morning. the world is growing ever more dangerous and defense spending is inadequate to confront the danger. today, the united states is engaged again in something of a grand experiment, the kind you saw in the 1930's to allow hitler to rise to power in germany. as then, military strength is seen in many quarters as the cause of military adventurism. strength and confidence -- is not seen to deter aggression but to provoke it rather than confront our adversaries, our president apologizes for our transgressions, minimizes the threats we confront and the face
of territories seizes, weapons of mass destructions used and proliferated and innocents murdered. the concrete expression of this experiment is our collapsing defense budget. for years, we have systemically underfunded our military. marrying this philosophy of retreat with a misplaced understanding of our larger burdens. we have strained our fighting forces today to the breaking point. even as we have eaten away at investments at our future forces. meanwhile, a long-term debt crisis hardly looks any better even as we ask truth to shoulder the deficit redestruction rather than shouldering the arms necessary to keep the peace. the result of this experiment should come as no surprise than the results of the same experiment in the 1930's. ladies and gentlemen, you're welcome. as much as these fellow citizens support negotiates with iran
but negotiates from a piece of strength. where we, where we are dictating the terms of the negotiations. not the circumstances where just two days ago, two days ago let me remind you, atole la ripped up the crowd in iran to say death to america. two days ago, ayatollah in his annual speech whipped his crowd into a frenzy saying death to america. what was his response? yes, certainly, death to america. this is not the man or the regime to whom we should ever make nuclear concessions and in fact -- and in fact, the president's series of one sided nuclear confessions is of a peace with his philosophy of
retreat that apologizes for american conduct and actually undermines our efforts to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon rather than secures it. not just with iran, but around the world, our enemies sensing opportunity have become steadily more aggressive. our allies uncertain of our commitment and capabilities have begun to conclude they must look out for themselves even if it's unhelpful. our military suffering from year s of neglect. let's start with the enemy who attacked us on september 11. the president said al-qaeda is on the run. in a fashion, i suppose this was correct. al-qaeda is running wild around the world. it controls now than before.
this global network continues to plot attacks against america and the west. and maintain active in africa, the arabian peninsula and the greater middle east and south asia. further, al-qaeda in iraq -- withdrew from iraq in 2011. given the chance to re-group al-qaeda and iraq morphed into the islamic state. it cuts the heads off of americans, burns live hostages from allied countries, executes christians and enslaves women and girls. they inspire to plot us here at home, whether by foreign plot or recruiting a lone wolf in our midst. and the threat of islamic terrorism brings me to iran. the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism. my objections to these nuclear negotiations are well-known and i don't have to rehearse them here. i will note though that the deal
foreshadowed by the president and accepting any expiration date on an agreement to quote netanyahu, doesn't block iran's path to a bomb it paves iran's path to a bomb and if you think as i do that the islam ic state is dangerous, a republic is even more so. recall after all what iran does without the bomb. iran is an outlaw regime that has been killing americans for 35 years. from lebanon to saudi arabia to iraq. unsurprisingly, iraq, iran is growing bolder and more aggressive as america retreats from the middle east. ayatollah did in fact two days ago call for death to america just as in recent months, he tweeted the reasons why israel should be eliminated. militias now control much of our iraq.
iran continues to prop up assad's outlaw regime in syria. iranian aligned and shiite financed militants, the capital of yemen and over the weekend, we had to withdraw further troops from yemen. hezbollah remains our lebanon. put simply, iran dominates or controls five capitals in its drive for regional hegemony. further, iran has rapidly increased the size and capability of its ballistic missile arsenal and three weeks ago, iran blew up a mock u.s. aircraft carrier in naval exercises and publicized it with great fanfare. iran does all these things without the bomb. just imagine what iran would do with the bomb, and imagine a united states largely defenseless against this, but you don't have to imagine much. simply look to north korea because of a naive and failed
agreement, that state acquired nuclear weapons. now, america is largely handcuffed. regrettably, the result of this experiment can also be felt in other parts of the world. take for example the resurgence of russia with whom president obama conciliated and made one sided concessions from the outset of his presidency or china's military build up which is clear against the united states as china purr seuss an -- as china pursues a strategy to keep american forces outside the so-called first island chain and therefore to expand china's hegemony in east asia. now while america is retreated not only have our enemies been on the march, our allies anxious for years about american revolve -- american resolve now worry about american capabilities.
with the enemy on our border many have begun to conclude they have no choice but to take matters into their own hands. we should never take our allies for granted, but we shouldn't take for granted the vast influence our security guarantees give us with their behavior. this kind of influence has been essential for american security throughout the post war period. yet it has begun to wane as our allies doubt our commitment and capabilities. and make no mistake, our military capabilities have declined. today, defense spending is only 16% of all spending. historic low rivaled only by a post cold war period. to dip some context, during a cold war, defense spending accounted for 60% of all federal spending, but if we don't end with retreat, this president will leave office with a mere 12% of all federal dollars spent
on defense. the picture is no prettier when cast in light of the economy as a whole and the early poll work, defense spending was 9% of gross domestic product. today, it sits at a pal tri -- a paltry 3.5%. our defense budget isn't just about numbers and arithmetic. it's about accomplishing the mission of defending our country from all threats. the consequences of these cuts are real, concrete, and immediate. as former secretary of defense panetta explained, these cuts put us on the path to the smallest army since world war ii and the smallest air force ever. and these impacts won't be just immediate. they will be felt long into the future. the key programs will be difficult to restart. manufacturing competencies will be lost. the skilled labor pool will shrink. today's weapon systems and equipment will age and break down. our troops won't be able to
train and weapons equipment won't be ready for the fight. in short, we will have a hollow force incapable of defending our national security. what is then to be done? our experiment with retreat must end. this congress must begin recognize that our national security is the first priority of the government and the military budget must reflect the budgets we face rather than the budget defining those threats. this week, the senate budget resolution will reflect $520 3 billion. while better than defense spending mandated by the budget control act, this is still insufficient. given our readiness crisis and the immediate need to modernize aircraft, ship, vehicles and so forth. the national defense panel, a bipartisan group of national security experts convened by congress unanimously recommended
a $600 billion floor to the defense budget. not a ceiling. i agree that $611 billion is necessary and not sufficient. what then should our budget be next year? well, i will readily acknowledge that we can't be sure how much is needed above $611 billion. the national defense panel explained why. because of the highly constrained department under which the department has been working, the defense review is not adequate as a comprehensive, long-term planning document. thus, the panel recommends that congress should ask the department for such a plan which should been developed without current constraints. i endorse this recommendation. in the meantime though, even if we can't specify a precise dollar amount, we can identify the critical needs on which to spend the additional money. first, our military does face a readiness crisis. from budget cuts in a decade of
war. we must act immediately to get our forces back in fighting shape. from flight time and so forth. second, and related, our military is shrinking rapidly to historically small levels. this decline must be reversed. and in strength of the army and many marine core and the navy. third, we must increase research, development and procurement funds to ensure our military retains its advantage as our adversaries gain more access to advanced, low cost technologies. these critical priorities will no doubt be expensive. probably tens of billions of dollars more than the 611 billion baseline suggested. because the massive cuts to our defense budget resulted in record deficits though, the question arises can we afford this? the answer is yes.
without question and without doubt. yes. the facts are not disputable. the defense budget has been slashed by hundreds of billions of dollars over the last six years. the defense budget as i said is only 16% of all federal spending, low and heading lower if we don't act. and using the broadest measure of affordability and national priorities defense spending is a , spending of our economy. last year, we only spent 3.5 on defense. approaching historic lows and it makes you pass it by 2019. to provide context, when reagan took office, we spent 5% of our national income on defense. and president reagan and congressional democrats considered that to be a dangerously low amount. that is the point from which they started. if we spent 5% of our national income on defense today, we would spend $885 billion on
defense. furthermore, trying to balance the budget through defense cuts is both counterproductive and impossible. first, the threats we face eventually will catch up with us and they did on 9/11, as they did in the late 1970's. we'll have no choice but to increase our defense budget. it will cost more to achieve the same instate of readiness and modernization than it would have without the intermediate cuts. this is the lesson we learned in the 1980's and in the last decade. second, we need a healthy growing economy to generate the government revenue necessary to fund our military and balance the budget and our globalized world, our prosperity depends heavily on the world economy which requires global stability and order and who provides that? the united states military.
i would suggestion a better question to ask is can we afford to continue our experiment with retreat? and i would suggest the answer is we cannot. imagine a world in which we continue our current trajectory, where america remains in retreat and our military loses even more edge. it's not a pretty picture. to stop this experiment and turn around american retreat, we must once again show that america is willing and prepared to fight a war in the first place. only then, only when we demonstrate military strength and confidence in america's national security will we make war less likely in the first place. our enemies and allies alike will and must know that aggress sors will pay an unspeakable price for challenging the united states. bring about this future by being prepared for war will no doubt take a lot. but i will leave you all with
two questions. what could be a higher priority than a safe and prosperous america leading to stable and orderly world and what better use of our precious taxpayer dollars? thank you, all. god bless you, god bless the united states. [applause] >> thank you, again, for joining us this morning. for your insights. it's now a pleasure to welcome rachel hoff to moderate our panel. thank you, rachel. rachel: thank you very much. thank you very much, chris and to senator cotton for those very insightful remarks. i am pleased to be joined by this panel to follow up on the senator's remarks and diving
deeper into these questions of current military capacity and capability in order to meet rising national security threats as well as the defense budget question within the context of the broader fiscal year 2016 budget. douglas, to my right previously, he served as director the congressional budget office next is the policy director at the foreign policy initiative. previously, he was a visiting fellow at the american enterprise institute and served for two years as deputy director in the u.s. department of defense. david also served as a research staff member for defense analysis. and mckenzie, who will start us off, is a resident fellow at the center. she's worked on defense issues both here in the senate and in
the house of representatives as well as in the pentagon. also, secretary of defense and joint staff. mackenzie's served as a staff member on defense council, senator cotton endorsed today. mackenzie: thanks for having me. i guess we can pick up, where the senate's going to go this week and the resolutions as opposed. it is a long way from the president's budget to i think the kind of investments that are required that are very similar in line with the national defense panel. which we can speak more about in q and a. i think the biggest question on the table or put another way the elephant in the room is ok $39 billion extra in overseas contingency operation spending
to get the defense budgets in the neighborhood ballpark of where president obama has them. or a billion over depending on , how you calculate it. how is that for defense? well, i'm here to say as somebody who helped the national defense panel think through some of these issues, it's completely inadequate. it's not just bad budgeting and governing, it's bad defense policy. $39 extra billion in oco or war spending isn't the same defense budget as plussing up the base budget. i know that's hard. i get it. hey, congress has done it twice already and we know they're going to do it again with the deal, some sort of follow on to the ryan murray, but they're not going to do it until they've exhausted every other option and gone through this long torturous path to get there. but there's the base budget that invests in america's military and basically, the size and
structure in the standing responsibilities, the daily global responsibilities. the supplementing spending it is intended for emergencies. that is why it is called emergency supplemental money. there are two defense budgets and they buy two different things. in fact, the defense budget, one for war spending, has been constricted over time partly because of congress. congress has wanted to restrict the use of those funds, which i think is a good thing. it's often in years past particularly when defense budgets were going up, it's the christmas tree. it became everybody's favorite place to stop, stocking stuffer you could imagine that had nothing to do with anything closely related to intelligence. so, to think that even one, that 39 billion is ok and it's going to buy you the same kind of defenses is inadequate and it's
something policymakers really struggle with and don't want to hear. and then two, trying to get that discussion started and what's required for the long-term defense. what's required for changes in the budget control act and why a base budgeting increase is more important than a one-term shot in the arm band-aid fix in the oco. is i think the conversation that we might want to get into up here later. but really quickly, why two defense budgets and why two different outcomes? well, the emergency spending money is mostly for supplementals. for consumables. perishable items, like the milk in our refrigerator or bread on your counter or where ever you put it. this is for short-term investments. there are different type of readiness. individual and small unit and large scale maneuver full
spectrum readiness. for example, if you were just to take readiness and whittle it down, this kind of spending doesn't buy you the same kind of investments and it doesn't buy you long-term modernization health of the force. so, with that, i'm going to turn that cheery note over to david and stop talking. david: thanks. mackenzie: it's on. david: great, thanks. yeah, i only probably have more depressing information to add. somehow, it seems when fpi discusses the state of the world these days, it's not your upper for the morning, but what i'd like to do is expand on what senator cotton said about a long-term trends in defense spending and why is it important to do that. so, of course, we here at fpi and talk a lot about the national defense panel's for recommendations and you get a lot of pushback and it comes from a couple of directions. so, interestingly, this advocacy is often a plank in the center of the political spectrum.
if you look at the more than 85 experts that signed the fbi's open letter to congress, you saw a few notable republicans alongside notable democrats making the case and we hear from more people on both sides. i've discussed this even with veterans who consider themselves progressives. they say, no, how can you want to add more dollars for defense. isn't the real strength in economy and education? on the other side, it tends to be look at our debt, our deficit. how can you advocate more spending when these are at historically high levels? if you look at the context, you understand why those are not the case. so, for example, if you look at a choice between defense and education, in the constrained political environment where we have sequestration caps that apply to defense and nondefense spending, one dollar for one is one dollar less for the other
but the fact is, we have it because there's never been either the political will be or right answer to helps people take on entitlements, so when you look at it, when you hear senator cotton say anywhere from 12% to 17% from this year out to the next five years is consumed by defense spending, that means 80% plus is on nondefense spending. overwhelmingly, that goes to entitlements, so it doesn't need to be a one for one trade off. it's that we have one part that's somewhat out of control and another that has been decreasing sharply. if you look at the contingency operations budget, that peaked at almost $200 billion in real terms and now, we're talking about whether it should be $50 billion as the president proposed or more. so, 75% there, we're sort of reaping that benefit. and then the base budget has fallen by 15% in real dollars as well, so these are cuts across the board. sorry.
now, when it comes to driving the deficit. it's really the same story with entitlement. those are the areas where you're getting more and more spending. they're not under control by the bca. senator cotton mentioned we were at 5%. if you go back further, it was regularly in the 9% or 10% range in the 1950's. and it sort of gradually began to come down on a glide path. we probably got close with all the supplemental dollars, but now, we are headed down to a place that's less than 4% and may be going down to less than 3% if the current projections hold. if you think there are three ways to look at the size of the defense budget. one is as a percentage of gdp, what that tell us is that given the size of our economy, can we afford this much. at one point, we were spending 10% and now, under 4, that tells us the overall growth of our economy has outpaced the change in defense spending.
that has followed an up and down shape over the years, where as our economy has grown tremendously. the second way of looking at things as the percentage of , every dollar, how much is spent on defense? again, the norm in the early day of the cold war, it have half of -- it is almost half of the entire budget, like spending $1.7 trillion on defense. no one's even proposing that of course. what the panel wants is about a third of that in the base budget. you'd have more if you added in oco. you've seen that constant trend because domestic spending really entitlements, has really moved and expanded to fill that gap tremendously. i think it's when i talk to people, i try to add these historical factors because sometimes, they understand it's really a different question. it's not how do we train one for -- how to we trade one for the other? it's how do we get the out of control spending areas so we can afford to spend what we need to, whether it's more scientific research or education and on
security spending as well. i'll turn it over to dr. holts eakin. >> thank you and i want to thank -- i want to thank fpi for joining with aaf for this event and i appreciate the chance to be here. the larger dynamics have been in play for some time. it has been utterly foreseeable that the baby boom generation would age one year at a time every year and we would ultimately get to the point as we are now, where we get 10,000 new beneficiaries every day flowing into social security medicare, where we see rising spending on medicare, medicaid social security, the other components of entitlements which are driving two things. number one, they are driving an enormous amount of projected debt in the united states. if you roll the clock forward ten years, we find we're running
a trillion dollar deficit. of that trillion dollar deficit, $800 billion is interest on previous borrowing, so we as a nation are getting to the point where we're taking on a new card to pay off the interest on the old. it's an extraordinarily dangerous position for the u.s. it is driving out of the budget the kinds of things the founders would have recognized as the role of government. it's driving out investments in research on the nondefense side douglas: those budgetary dynamics have been predictable and they have been in place for quite some time and they are starting to show up right now. faced with budgetary crisis, congress did what often does which is how do we solve this last time? last time was the late 1990's. the whole solution was to put caps on defense and nondefense spending. pray that things break your way.
well, the problem is that unlike 20 years ago, the baby boomers are not 20 years from retirement. it is here. it is right now. we are not going to solve the problem. number two -- we ultimately solved it with pretending that we had the fall of the soviet union. i center cotton mentioned, we were not as safe as we thought. the budgetary games were a significant difference losses. third, we ultimately balanced the budget by having a.com bubble. we do not need to have enough bubbles. we have to have a new strategy. they have now quantified the basic problem in the vca. it is attacking the wrong part of the budget and putting these caps enforced by sequesters and play. the ultimate solution, as did point out, is the trade we need to spend more on defense and
nondefense discretionary spending a takeout of mandatory spending to do it. it needs to be undertaken every year and in the increasingly large amounts. that's also the debt problem which the former admiral identified as her number one national security threat. so, it is unusual for me as the budget guide to be the ray of optimism, so let me try. this is a different moment and a lot of the moments i've witnessed on this discussion. in the past, the only people who were ever in favor of entitlement reform are people like me -- edging dixie drew lines and say that was going to be bad and everyone else said no. we want medicare as we know it and we want social security is in. now, it is changing. number 1 -- we have done all
this. the social security program stayed solvent by promising 25% cuts over 25 years fit the medicare program runs a cash flow deficits -- and it does not deliver high-quality care toward seniors. this is recommendation that these programs have to be better in their own right. there is now advocates for changes to entitlement programs. there in the defense community and nondefense community. i spoke to the nondefense coalition. it is the single worst name coalition and washington. they need a better name. these are now advocates for entitlement reform because there's a recommendation that we need to get this done. that is from the bottom. from the top down, anyone who runs for president in 2016, and it appears everyone is running. lots of people running. their advisors are going to tell
them that you want to be governing in 2024. if so, if you do not change something and you are the president overseeing that debt crisis and the fed raising crisis. the 16 cycles going to have to foresee out of -- foreshadow the need to improve these programs. that is top-down politics that we have been meeting -- missing recently -- no leadership from the top. i think there's a chance to get this fixed. it is meant never simple or easy. it is time to change so we do not codify the wrong policy the right policy in place. rachel: a bit array of a optimism. let me start off with some questions of my own.
let me start with david. you outline seven -- several different ways for the budget to show the share the federal budget. another way that the defense budget is for trade within the context of global defense spending. critics would often point out that we spend more than any country in the world on the fence. can you help provide context for u.s. defense spending by putting it within the context of global trends in defense spending? sen. cotton: david:david: that number you hear is correct. that is evidence that we are spending too much, but what is the role that america has in the world act of center cotton hit this head on. we had the guarantor of stability and expansion of freedom to more people. if you look at the world before
1945 when there was no single dominant power, you can have a major systemic war that left vast destruction in its wake for every 30 or 4070 years. they occur from napoleon to the mid-17th century and worlds -- world war one and two. since 1945, there's been one more role dominant power causing a lot of trouble. with one dominant one in place that could help secure order and have expansion of freedom because it has been a genetic increase in the number of democracies. if we continue to see ourselves playing this role, it has applications for defense. how much this china spent on defense? we do not exactly know. there's a swedish think tank. people think it is around the neighborhood of 100 $80 billion. around a third of u.s. defense spending. but china does not think about spending in order to achieve global stability.
it is more about how we can push the u.s. and its allies back. we are going to design a asymmetric strategy. therefore, we have the burden to me that strategy. it is important to realize we are going to be playing an away game. you usually want to play a home game. and war, it is better to play an away game because we want to make sure that it doesn't take place there. it costs a fair amount of money as they allow us to project power to any corner of the globe and have a skill the crisis or threat there. china has not the only region whether it is a ran isis in the middle east. we are investing in the ability to project power there so we can deal with their issues and the threats that they present -- or if you look at what the vladimir putin is doing. they spent a fraction of what we are doing. it is difficult to know exactly how much they were spending. the fact is -- we have to look
at the obligations of nato. it is really only the united states that has this global role. even if you add up the value of the next seven or eight or nine powers, it is not going to give you the right answer. that is not the way to arrive at what we need. we have to take a strategic approach to these different regions and one of the military forces and what do we need to deal with those. one last note -- it is worth observing that different countries have increased their spending dramatically. in a decade, and is been almost double or more. if you go back further, they were starting from a low base. it is disturbing and they are increasing the capability and we may need to spend more. ultimately, the bigger question is how much power do they generate from that spending. finally, how much anger we getting for our but? on one of the pessimistic notes
-- we have been getting less bang for our buck and the defense department. some is just the fact that we are a prosperous economy and you have to pay highly qualified personnel more, so our personnel more, so our personal costs rise over time as the economy grows. if also had persistent rise in the cost of operations and maintenance and we have had some well-known troubles and acquisition. it is more of a complex and strategic question and if someone wants to frame the debate and even senators, not center cotton of course who have done this, they say, oh, we are spending too much because he spent more than the next seven or a powers combined. about america's interest, not just about dollar figures. rachel: we may have a chance to fix these problems. zooming in on the fy 16 budget resolution, includes a definite besides. can you provide some context for us in terms of these reserve funds? how have they been used historically? often they are included and not funded. is there any reason that they may be different?
douglas: for those who do not follow this, and i recommend that is everyone that room. the buzz it -- budget resolution is not a law. it is passed as an agreement between the house and the senate on how to budget for the year. it includes an allocation for spending on defense and here's to the cap in the bca. and then other mechanisms should you wish to read his -- raise that out his. the mechanism and play this year is a deficit neutral reserve fund. what that says in english is supposed they pass a bill that comes in above the allocation of $499 billion. then, the budget chairman can stand up and say, i invoke the deficit natural -- neutral reserve fund. you can spend $525 billion, as
long as we get some in offset somewhere, so it allows the congress to break its own budget and in the process, it avoids having a point of order against proceeding to the appropriations bill. so it is a procedural mechanism against taken out of the way. it allows you to go forward with a defense bill. those have been around a long time. we passed the description -- prescription drug bill in 2030 -- 2003rd -- it is really nice but it does not change the law. the matter how much he appropriated, we're going to cut it back, and for that purpose the budget resolution sets the debate up, but does not solve the problem. we need to pass appropriations bills passed past changes to the budget control act that give greater funding. rachel: and mckenzie, picking up
on this question, providing no change, if there is no change in law and to the bca, but congress does appropriate funding for the pentagon through natural -- nusra reserve funds, what are the consequences for these kind of short-term fixes for our military and for the pentagon in terms of planning derrico claiming? mackenzie: we have party scene -- we have already seen -- if anything is pretty visible, it is congress. they like to take ideas off the shelf for 20 years ago. this group is a highly predictable one. if rd seen in recent congresses members banding together on the left and right to strip money back. you have heard this line before. my good friend like colin and john in the audience have written the story of thousands
times, but the pentagon didn't ask for it, so it becomes i justifiably discussion about if we need more money and if not, then we are going to take it more out. chris van hollen, the cars men from maryland talked about the need to do this. there was an amendment about a total account of $5 billion and they took $3.5 billion out and they agreed to it. so the $39 billion in the action money as an allowable amount. it is the ceiling. that is not what will be appropriated for defense. and there will be fair and legitimate arguments to take a lot of that money away. congress itself said no to it 22's -- after 22's and the emergency spending bill several years ago. the pentagon is going to want to put a lot of hardware and equipment into the boko and it is not going to be a voting majority by most members of congress. the first problem is what will
happen on the floor and the pentagon is going to lose a lot of the money. once it loses a lot of money they'll take us back to the last four years of this wild swing and defense planning and no physical certainty for the apartment. and that alone is one of the most insufficient things you can do for pentagon program managers. there is internal bureaucratic decision-making that is unjustifiable and critically expensive for taxpayers. if they're looking out and watching this debate in not knowing what happens, they managers for the cash. they understand that they're likely going to cough up some of it at the of the year, whether it is sec restriction or caps or continuing resolution that starts the fiscal year. however it turns out, it is luck with to be the number we are talking about this week for defense. it will be a number lower. that is a fact. that is a guarantee. if you are at betting purses, you can go to vegas and tell them mackenzie sent you. it will be a number that is lower than debated.
when that number is finally appropriated and the president signs it into law and it could be 2016 when it happens, it will be a number lower than the total amount that we are talking about this week. that brings all these wild efficiencies and program management. and these things are deferred are granted altogether and an intensive patient of the chaos and uncertainty on capitol hill. the third is -- when the money is approved, there's a debate on how much more readiness certain components or services need at times, particularly right now. the readiness crisis right now, their pockets of incredibly high readiness at the dod, and that is good, but you can only force a much money into readiness without overspending money and wasting it. most of the readiness challenges right now are in large-scale maneuver and in longer-term readiness. as some of it is the function of
time not dollars. certain army brigade level training -- we do not have another national training center and we are not going to build one. more money isn't going to solve that problem. the third consequences what you can buy with that money and what is needed is modernization and some readiness. what you cannot spend a lot of this money on is modernization. rachel: let me's became one more question for donald before opening it up to the audience. we spoke about the context of how defense spending might play a role in the 2016 presidential -- fixing his long-term problems might play a role in the 2016 presidential conversation. and one of the pieces of doug's bio that i didn't mention earlier is that he served as economic and domestic policy director for john mccain's 2008 presidential campaign. for a more political question to close out -- my question is -- how do you speculate, not just
fixed in the question of entitlement looking forward to 2024, but how might the conversation around sequestration and defense spending issue play out among the 2016 candidates on both sides of the aisle? douglas: my reasoning on this comes from really two pieces. number one -- it is always better to figure out what people have to do rather than what they want to do. and we have to fixes. the numbers are overwhelming in terms of the acute relation of debt the financial instability of the federal budget. if you just a on autopilot for another eight to 10 years. politicians have correctly stayed away from these programs because everybody has seen the ads about granny getting thrown off a cliff, but she's quite durable it comes back every election. that has got to change. and anyone who does the arithmetic knows that and knows that it is a very bad idea.
so you're going to have to start laying the groundwork. will not cede the details and 2016, but as you move from 2016 to 2018 to 2020, you will see medicare is not serving our seniors and we need to fix it and make it more sustainable and all those things. the second pieces -- if you look at the polling on the ground right now, people are scared about our security. period. the american public understands this is a dangerous world. and if you sort of ask all the questions about controlling spending and getting deficits now, the fiscal hawks agree with that. they ask about projecting american values around the globe and securing national interest around the globe, and they support all that. if you put them head-to-head, the defense hawks defeat the fiscal hawks on the ground in the polling. presidential candidates know this. and they will pull all the time. they will i golf the fiscal problem, but talk about the need
for stronger defense budget to better national security. rachel: so turning to all of you -- we have about 30 minutes to take some of the questions and three quick advisory points. make sure to wait for the microphone to reach you for the benefit of our c-span friends watching at home. identify yourself before asking a question and be sure it is in fact a question. so we have a couple right up front here. you can go first. we will start out just right here in the front row. >> colin clark. breaking defense. so i do not think there's anybody around here who would disagree that something has to be done. so far, nothing really has been. as you guys look of the next couple of months, what are the appropriators going to do?
mackenzie: i will start. they have been broadcasting it loud and clear and i'm sure you know this. they will appropriate to cap's, for defense. it is for 99-051. $499 million for the base budget. we have certainty. the authorizer's are different story. that will be interesting. i believe both chairmen are leaning towards marking'twas the president's budget request of $555 billion. the question is what will they do with oco? it seems like both chambers will coalesce around the amount no reserve funds required, which is troubling on its owns are other reasons because this is pretty much all debt finance anyway when you're talking emergency spending money and a half of it that they would try to make offset allowable is going to be
taken away. so will they markup to -- well it is 51 plus 39 -- $90 billion for emergency supplemental for the defense department? a couple of things regarding that. 1 -- that the $1 billion that the president requested is too low anyway. it will be higher. we know the president emergency supplemental for defense is to locate last time around, mr. freeling asked the pentagon about that, saying things have changed, ebola, isis crimea, what is the new number and pentagon came back with a new number. and the same thing that happened last year will happen again. how much does the defense department come back and say is actually needed? it is higher than the 51 billion dollars, but we don't know the exact number. it is probably in the $60 billion range. i do not know that is a lower high $60 billion. and that will flow easily to the department. the other question is -- then
you have an extra, you still have $25 billion $35 billion that you can play with under the budget resolution for the contingency operation account. the question is what is pentagon leadership do? and that is something the discussed by the civilian leadership at the defense department right now. how do we react to what congress is pompously -- possibly going to let us do? it is possible that pentagon leadership says we don't want that action money and that will change everything up. because congress is going to want to hand the department money that they don't want because it is not the kind of money we need. that will change the dynamic and keep the number a lot lower. it will keep a closer to $70 billion total. i do not think we will get anywhere near 90 billion dollars. there just isn't enough to spend on the things needed. david: one of the attractive things in theory about adding money on a budget resolution
stages each not have to do a political trade of one for one of busting up discretionary. it is not restricted by the cap. there are some compost ways by which it is. you can sort of put money there and the cap will rise along with it and you act as if you have that more money each not have to have some sort of trade-off. there are ways in which everyone could agree to go along with a, even though it is not considered to be long-term monetization funding. and if you say black is white and white is black, white can be black in the case of oco and can be used for anything. you'll need tally is the right way, you'll have problems. mccanns explained how there is potential for a democrat-report can coalition that is not like a justified oco, but there is potential that the omb can say we don't want to and we don't consider and i think the doctor
can seek about this better, but if the omb does not agree if it overseas contingency operations for those you get thrown off by the acronyms with the around, we do not have the along with it and it could be a bargaining tackett -- tactic because the emotion does not want to do that without having to bargain with democrats for additional discretionary spending. so while they cannot get in the way of the republican majority passing this, there will be points in the road where democrats have their say, just as minorities have have faith they -- have had their say and they also control demonstration. 6 imackenzie: i believe the president when they say he will veto the defense cap's, regardless of the of co.
i think he will do that. so that is why it i know we will start this year with the continuing resolution, unfortunately. douglas: so that how lives of the tools are there to get it done. so you'll need to spend more in the base budget on the fencing you will exceed the cascade the price will be more nondefense spending and the president and the democrats will demand it. there is no big deal in the senate. although you have, if you exceed our locations is a 60 vote, and you need the 60 in the senate to pass it regardless. so you get the money is a deal struck. and the deficit are dealt with by reducing mandatory spending and above budget resolutions but you can always exceed the resolution instructions and they have the capabilities to get mentors -- mandatory spending to offset on simple majorities and reconciliation is only useful as of the president wants to sign. otherwise, it there's is a long
and time-consuming way to get a veto. that means that you have to get a deal. you have to get presidential leadership that says i want this, you want that, and i will finally offset to make sure that we maintain our deal with the american public on deficits. we have not seen this white house successfully pulled off in any setting so far. but it is on the table they want to get there. and that is my policy argument. presidential leadership would make it a better political argument. rachel: yes, sir. >> peter humphrey, a former diplomat and current analyst. my concern is the pentagon isn't getting it on squarmed warfare. imagine dozens of cruise missiles. imagine hundreds of drones instead of it as 20 imagine if we lose the aircraft carrier. what can the congressional budget office the to compel the pentagon to look at buying a
thousand millennium falcons instead of another death star? mackenzie: it is definitely part of the discussion and debate. the policymaking committee is the resurrection of mass nutrition-based warfare of the future. and where numbers just matter. it is not just about the externa capability that the u.s. can bring to bear, but how many of what -- how much capacity do we have. and normally when people use the word capacity, they are talking about army, bank applied across the fleets and services and units and capability sets. there is the appreciation that that is the kind of thinking that is required. these budgets don't generally supported, even if it is a lower cost item. if you look at starting back in 2013 this is not just the budget control ask cut, that the
sequestration and then sequestration level spending that have hit the pentagon modified since. the hardest hit spending has not just bit and modernization but in all the minor perfumer programs. -- procurement programs. we think about the major defense acquisition programs and they have certainly taken some reductions, but really, it is a 60% of those of that spending on all the little things that defense department wants to buy and has taken the hardest hit. it is the death by a thousand cuts story. as this debate continued to continues and we see this play out for the fiscal year 2016 that having a leadership has argued said the plurality of reductions when we do not get the presence request for defense and will come out of the same account and will probably happen in a similar way as it has happened in recent
years. so right now, it is important have discussion, but i do not think there will be much action on that kind of recommendation until there's more physical certainty -- fiscal certainty for the department. it is definitely in the conversation leading up to 2016, however. >> i think that is a great look at the political dynamics. david: is it possible for congress to exercise the leadership and dealing with that tactile questions. i'm not especially optimistic. i think this part of the system that the pentagon is much larger and have people deal with their doctors. i do not think congress is that decline to challenge fundamentally the kind of strategy and technology weapons systems that the defense department proposes. so the most effective channel for reform may be within the schoolhouse and the different services or the defense intellectual community. congress says we do not like certain things at the margins, but we do not let this plan or
that plane and it is too early to cut the a-10, we have to keep they attempted. i'm not sure we see too many cases. there's room for something striking. you say what if an aircraft carrier with son, but that might have to be a war with china for that to happen. that might also again act through the defense department and through the military before congress steps up to the plate. douglas: congress is much more likely to samet adhered to the past been a change things for the future. all those members have districts and their stuff in it from the past and they don't want to change it. and as a more common dynamic and really forcing an agency to change the way it does business. rachel: other questions? yes, sir. >> i have a question about foreign propaganda.
isis has videos where they are exilic evening -- executing assad regime members and videos executing russian intelligence agencies and i believe that is for the western media, not for those particular countries and so my question is given russia's case in syria, and they sponsor assad's regime, they became a super power, because russia with ukraine is a super power and they have better ways of going through the turkish straits and we can only have a token presence in the black seeds and the syrian port is the first port that they come to create we have the supposing conflict between assad and iso-and the iran-iraq conflicts. i think the shooting down of the malaysian air could be an article five offense. certainly if afghanistan was best buy the only time that article five -- certainly if
afghanistan was article five, that is the only time the article five came into offense and afghanistan war was due to shooting down to 10 or 11 the aircraft and the shooting down of the malaysian air would be just as much as an article five, so how do you maintain a balance and plan your defense budget when there's all this propaganda that is defined -- designed to provoke rage and passion which you have to put aside. -- to put aside? david: a lot of the propaganda is targeting the west. i'm not sure how much of an impact it has on planning and spending. some people might say the decision to brutally execute a number of american brutalist -- journalist has led us to take a more action. on the other hand, i think there's a strong case that we are ignoring the threat and they did us a favor in some ways of alerting the american public to just how great it was that this is a group that believes these
no limits on the brutality and its ambition down the road for theological and ideological reasons to eventually attacked the american homeland. in some ways, it provided an emotional couple met to was arty a strong rational case for dealing with the threat. in terms of balancing with the regions, the administration proposed a few years ago, as part as it current strategy, the pivot to asia. they want to believe that europe was a place spreading security to other regions that we could do left in the middle east without it being a "priority" and we can put more to asia. part of the challenges that we cannot trade off one region less and one region more. they each have the potential for these major threats to emerge whether it is the national defense panel or other groups considering this, you have to have a four structure and a force large enough to deal with threats and all that.
yes, that does mean that the defense budget will go higher but we try to make the point before, not higher by the historic levels or even the approaching of the cold war a reagan level, to a 7% of the budget was for defense and if we back up to the low 20%, we could handle all three of these theaters. so i'm less concerned about having our ballots distorted by propaganda, except for the chinese. the chinese and tried to have the op. cit. kind of propaganda. they realized the smartest kind is the one that walls us to realize that isn't a threat and the other kind only exaggerates the threat and provokes an american response. mackenzie: i appreciate your point about emotional reactions and what congressional reactions are. this town has become to get at managing crisis as opposed to solving problems. i do not think we should expect much difference it unfortunately
from the next two years, there is growing recognition that there is a problem and it will identify already. center cotton in his keynote mention this. -- senator cotton in his keynote mention this. i guess what i would say is -- not just as congress, but this administration, there'sattorney back on for defense regardless of the threat. that is problem one, but also a challenge to prevent that things change and it did. a couple of things -- one, there is increasing conventional wisdom in town that the pentagon can do with anything and everything in it will have to deal with what it's got. and what it's got is consuming it to get smaller and older and less capable, and as that happens, we are dialing down the strategy and we are dialing down our objectives globally, which is his own challenge. i do not see any threat to cause
a windfall in defense spending for the next two years. it is not coming. this is really a disconsolate -- a discussion for beyond 2016. but then the discussion is when it is time to rebuild, if that is what is agreed upon by the left and the right in washington, then where do we put those investments and where do we spend the extra money act of and again here washington does not have a good proven track record particularly in response to crisis. if 9/11 happen again, no one what we know now, i do not want a dni and security intelligence apparatus and department of homeland security. there is somebody things wrong with the dollars that we poured into security after 9/11 and so much and efficiency that we are not prepared. rachel: next question here from jordan. >> thank you. jordan slopy, nato special operations headquarters. my question is a little bit larger and broader. our partners and allies watch
our budget debates and actively watch our congressional engagements and see the dysfunction that we portray it on the flipside, we have our national leaders criticizing nato members and criticizing partners and allies that the did not spend enough or accurately. my question would be -- what advice can you give those partners and allies to not only spend more, which granted i do think they need to spend more but how do they spend better? i think that is the bigger question. it is not just more dollars into it, but what should those dollars go towards? mackenzie: that is a fair point and something that we have had defense secretaries from both parties preaching to our allies for several years now. it is a good question. i do not think the message was thinking and until now until our friends and partners are turning a hill and turning around and we are not there.
it is a function of reality at this point. we can talk until were blue in the face and it will not be over enough until we realize that are smaller military can't do everything that it has promised in the past, and in some cases overly promise. that is a whole worry some problem as an american for other reasons, but it is really truly what it is. we had declining to pass the a capability and technological superiority. it is really a function of naked self interest and we have to have those at all conversations with our friends now and leave those it all conversations and washington and america without entitlement. david i are never going to see a dollar of social security and that is the story if you are under 40. let us all how these adult conversations and i think that is one of them. david: i think i will get half or 50%. mackenzie: maybe a quarter.
rachel: a question right here. >> good morning. my name is joann chase. i want to thank senator cotton and every member of this panel. i have a question. you mentioned something to the effect that no matter the interest we have in increasing this budget, the will is not there within our congress, is that correct? mackenzie: thehe well? >> to raise the budget and vote on increasing it. mackenzie: oh, right now. i don't think the will is there in washington. as we've seen recent threats emerge, like islamic state, like the annexation of crimea by russia and chinese aggression in the south, no one has made the leadership case for more defense spending in reaction to a world of rising threats. the pentagon is missing the case that they need to tread water, but not asking for significant increases.
>> is there anything we can do the members of the electorate, congressional districts and and senatorial districts -- can we make any difference? or are we just have in the conversation so that we can educate people for the next administration? is a something that we can do right now? mackenzie: that is the question that every panelist want to hear. that is truly the right question. i'm going to let you guys take the first abbot that. mackenzie:david: what is blocking greater defense spending? said now that we have the democrats control the white house and the republicans have the majority, but not a vetoproof, not a filibuster proof in the senate. if you listen to a lot of armed services committee hearings in the house with the senate, you hear people from both parties denounced sequestration again and again. if the armed services committee where the entire senate, they would be absolute fired up to do
something about it, but they would still hit a roadblock because we democratic members of this committee speak, but they can't say explicitly is they need to have the one for one. for every additional dollar of defense spending to bring the whole party on board you need another dollar of nondefense spending. and then when you look at how republicans react to that, those on the armed services committee can tolerate some degree of tray off that the security threat is so cute, at the political price to pay is nondefense spending, they will have it, but the party as a whole is not in a place to become from old that trade-off. that was sequestration and all its problems, a fair enough number of people on the republican side say this is exceptionally rare case where we actually control and brought down federal spending by about $100 billion a year and we don't want to give it up. if first of all, even if we do come to a deal, it is an efficient because if the democrats said it is the price, it is one for one can only half of the increase will ever go to the defense.
even if there is a willing block on either side for more defense spending, the related conditions about meeting more spending or demanding less spending do not want to go along with it. you can imagine a major tilt in either direction. the democrats come out of the next election with both the houses of congress, including 60 in the senate and the white house, they can pursue the plus up strategy of lissette quest ration -- strategy of lift sequestration and have another $100 billion for defense and $100 billion for nondefense discretionary. and if the republicans controlled the 60 in the senate and the house, they could pursue something which would be more defense at the expense of other accounts or push through entitlement reforms unacceptable to the democrats to generate money for other concerns, but with outside -- one side having a dominant hand, this prevents them from doing that much even though they all say this is a terrible situation. douglas: i'm a low more optimistic than these two.
i really am. mackenzie: because you're getting social security, sir. douglas: that is true. i am. i'm getting 75 cents on the dollar. so post 2016, there is the chance to fundamentally make some changes. that won't happen until then. but in terms of incremental funding of the defense department, i think there is more willing than these folks believe. because the president came in above the caps. and so he's laid down a marker and, yes there will be a price which is the nondefense discretionary spending absolutely. yes, there are people who hate that. but that is the nature of deals. deals are not clean victories, they are coalitions of the disgruntled getting half of what they want. and i think, again, the key is going to be what are the offsets? it is going to have to be offset. it should be offset over the mandatory accounts and the president has to give up against eric cut on the offsets. if he hangs them out to dry
prior to the 26 election nothing gets done. but if the president does what president should do to get the right policy, then there's a chance to get a little deal and 2016 and it will look like ryan-murray. it was some discretionary for mandatory offense -- offset and there will be some gimmicks. and you will do it again for the fy 17 budget and it will be money and political pain and they will decide the year after that to stop the nonsense and do something bigger. i think there's a chance for that dynamic to prevail. mackenzie: let me quickly round that out. douglas: nothing is incredibly true. [laughter] mackenzie: there's so much pain and fake moneys anyway. it is even that much. but i think that is how a will ultimately happen. because i think there will be a deal price of the primary and i never talk about the she let the politics and from the -- as they
are not hearing that this their priority, they are human beings. they going to deal with whatever is the next crisis at the front door. they are not going to fix the leaking roof is the card has a flat tire. and we're talking about the leaking roof, the long-term systemic problems and it is the squeaky wheel metaphor. that is going to get the grease. if they do not think that this is a priority of those who spend time with elected officials in both branches or pointed in some cases, then it won't get attention that it deserves, or at least the long-term attention. and i keep reading the headlines that -- in shock and a little bit of all to borrow that defense turn, that speaker boehner and nancy pelosi are working together to come pay for minute fix -- permit fix to come
up with a permanent. fixed and they made a budget deal that is kind of it a gimmick and every time the bill comes due for medicare they continue to pass ways to pay for so does cut a doctor payments to medicare never become a reality. it is of a charter billion dollars in we can only dream of a way to fix this for defense. but there seems to be a will and away. shockingly when it comes to big three in time programs that need some permanent fixing. and they are shown that they can do stuff and then shown that they can be bipartisan and this is clearly not a priority. if they do not show it won't be a priority. douglas: i want to point out they had to go to the dock 617 times in order to fix that, so there is equal -- a slow learning curve on that. >> jeff steel with the american legion. chairman thornberry spoke at
csi asked on acquisition reform. and they quoted gordon adams the skepticism and i'm curious about what you think about thornberry's reforms and the possibilities? mackenzie: i was so busy preparing for this panel. i honestly didn't read the article. i didn't see his speech. chairman thornberry gave his maiden speech and he previewed what he was going to be doing in acquisition and talked about the fact that it will be a bite-size look and not a sweeping leaven-mccain type bill like to congress is ago, which i think is finally a good thing. usually when you add more people, bodies, regulation, and dollars, it must be for more acquisition dollars in the future. i do not know the specifics of the totals, but i think as fresh
approach is in some cases unwinding and i'm not interested in what you're going to add to this defense system, but what you're going to take away. if i'm going to get a record -- report card, he gets an a for me. david: i like to put the issue in a bit of a larger context. another thing that you officers from both sides whatever you talk about them is the more defenses -- how can you ask for a single more dollar when so much is being wasted? happy as for more? that have been occasional scandals of the pentagon when you learn about fraud and abuse, but father and abuse are the biggest problems that people are targeting. and we can't reform our way out of this budget crisis. because the impulses well, if
there is as ways to get rid of it and is the acquisition of procurement that has a greatest problem of any of the major areas, let's deal of it that way. so obviously, and some of the ways the jury is still out on the wasara or the mccain reforms and they tend not to have big-ticket savings in the near term but it might take a long time before you knew you have the means to achieve those kinds of savings. and acquisition reports -- reform in general in the defense community is an area where so much intellectual effort has been invested over so many decades and people don't seem to have engineered the problem more correctly. perhaps, it is a cultural problem and we have the force leaders who can for someone to be more accountable. and senator mccain what he throws at witnesses was how much was the ford class carrier over budget? and the answer is $2 billion and how many people lost their job over that and the answer is none. and it is hard to find a point
authority and responsibility and i disappoint he is trying to make. cannot say that there was a single person who should lose their job, even when an entire carrier is $2 billion over budget. the general issue is that even if we did all these are forms we would not generate near what is necessary to make up the difference between sequestration level budgets and national defense panel level budgets and what might be necessary if that's continued to grow as they have in the past year. douglas: i'll just say, i never wanted to learn about acquisition reform so i hired rachel to learn it. so that is her problem. but the thing i would stress is the pentagon budget has the same problem the u.s. budget has on a smaller scale. it has a retirement problem and health care problem and there isn't enough acquisition for those things crowding out as what we think of real military capabilities so there has recently been a panel to impose compensation reforms and that is important and that is the reform
we need to see move forward to clear out reform in the pentagon budget. david: and my apology for double dipping. but for waste, when we think of money going to troops, there no way to think of waste of their lives on active duty or the risks they take on the field and there is never a right answer, but yet, music cover this cost growth -- a mackenzie is what it -- said it quite well, we have these two binding obligations to the troops to compensate them appropriately because they given up other fields and to make sure they have the best equipment when they are out there. we want to satisfy those all the time. we are increasingly at the point where proper comes nation is muslim out other parts of the budget. at an event, michelle florring who was under president obama, a member of the national defense panel, she talks about it through her own personal experience as a navy wife and
the benefits are important in terms of pension and she is a navy mom with this ongoing in, i believed in annapolis, and she said that concerns me much more. i much more worried about my son having the right equipment and all the things they need to couple submission and survived than i am about a marginal decrease. but it is politically difficult and that is not often what a congressman wants to hear because as a huge amount of pressure from tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people who don't want that benefit cut. and align what you hear in which one can have sympathy is why rebalancing the budget i'm back to veterans before we take on entitlements for people who haven't served their country? rachel: we will leave it on that provocative note. take you to the panel for a wonderful discussion and to senator cotton forget getting the conversation started today as my panel on aif and thank you to all of you for joining us. [applause]
here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks. on c-span twos book tv, saturday at 10 p.m. eastern on afterwards, author peter walton says that government housing policies cost of 2008 financial products -- crisis and it could happen again. sunday afternoon at 5:00, director of earth institute jeffrey sachs on a development plan to counter global issues like poverty political corruption and environmental decay. sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3, discussion on the last major speeches of abraham lincoln and martin luther king junior. and that saturday afternoon at four clock the 1965 "meet the press" interview with martin luther king junior. find our complete television schedule at c-span.org. call us an e-mail us at c-span.org or send us a tweet.
sen. cruz: thank you so much president follow well. god bless liberty university. i'm thrilled to join you today at the largest christian university in the world. [applause] sen. cruz: today, i want to talk with you about the promise of america. imagine your parents when they were children. imagine a little girl growing up in wilmington, delaware. [applause] sen. cruz: during world war ii, the daughter of irish and italian catholic family, working-class uncle ray numbers
in wilmington. she grew up with dozens of cousins because her mom was the second youngest of 17 kids. she had a difficult father. a man who drank far too much and frankly did not think that women should be educated. and yet, this young girl, pretty and shy, was driven. was bright, was inquisitive. she became the first person in her family to ever go to college. in 1956, my mom eleanor graduated from rice university with a degree in math and became a pioneering computer programmer in the 1950's and 1960's. [applause]
sen. cruz: imagine a teenage boy , not much younger than many of you here today, growing up in cuba. [applause] [laughter] david:sen. cruz: jet black hair, skinny as a rail. [laughter] sen. cruz: involved in student council, and yet, cuba was not at a peaceful time. the dictator batista was corrupt . he was oppressive. in this teenage boy -- and this teenage boy joins a revolution against batista and begins fighting with other teenagers.
to free cuba from the dictator. this boy at 817 finds himself thrown in prison -- at age 17 finds himself in prison, tortured and beaten, and then it h 18, he plays -- then at age 18, he flees cuba and comes to america. imagine the hope that was in his heart as he rode that ferryboat across the key west and got on a greyhound bus to head to austin texas. [applause] sen. cruz: to begin working washing dishes in making $.50 an hour, coming to the one landowner --
land on earth that has welcomed so many millions. when my dad came to america in 1957, he could not have imagined what lay in store for him. imagine a young married couple. living together in the 1970's. neither one of them has a personal relationship with jesus. they have a little boy and they are both drinking far too much. they are living a fast life. when i was three, my father decided to leave my mother and me. we were living in calgary at the time. he got on a plane and flew back to texas. he decided he did not want to be married anymore. he decided he did not want to be a father to his three-year-old son. yet, when he was in houston, a
friend, a colleague from the oil and gas business invited him to a bible study. invited him to clay road baptist church. there, my father gave his life to jesus christ. [applause] senator cruz: and god transformed his heart and he drove to the airport, he bought a plane ticket, and he flew back to be with my mother and me. [applause] senator cruz: there are people who wonder if faith is real. i can tell you, in my family there is not a second of doubt because were written not for the transformative love of jesus
christ, i would have been saved and i would have been raised by a single mom without my father in the household. imagine another little girl living in africa, in kenyan nigeria. [applause] senator cruz: this is a diverse crowd. [laughter] senator cruz: playing with kids. they spoke what he laid -- swahili, she spoke english. [applause] [laughter] senator cruz: coming back to california. [applause] senator cruz: where her parents who had been missionaries in africa raised her on the central coast. she starts a small business when she is in grade school, making bread. she calls it heidi's bakery.
she and her brother compete making bread. they make thousands of loaves of bread and they go to the local apple orchard, where they sell the bread to people coming to pick apples. she goes on to a career in business, excelling and rising to the highest pinnacles. and then heidi becomes my wife and my very best friend in the world. [applause] senator cruz: heidi becomes an incredible mom to our two precious little girls caroline and catherine, the joys and loves of our life. [applause]
senator cruz: imagine another teenage boy being raised in houston, hearing stories from his dad about prison and torture in cuba, hearing stories about how fragile liberty is beginning to study the united states constitution, learning about the incredible protections we have in this country that protect the god-given liberty of every american. experiencing challenges at home. the mid-1980's oil crisis crater. his parents' business go bankrupt. heading off to school over 1000
miles away from home at a place where he knew nobody, where he was alone and scared. his parents going through bankruptcy meant there was no financial support at home, so at the age of 17, he went to get to jobs -- two jobs to help pay his way through school. he took over $100,000 in school loans, loans i suspect a lot of y'all can relate to. [laughter] senator cruz: loans that i will point out i just paid off a few years ago. [applause] senator cruz: these are all of our stories. these are who we are as americans.
and yet, for so many americans, the promise of america seems more and more distant. what is the promise of america? the idea that the root -- the idea, the revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon which is that our rights do not come from man, they come from god almighty. [applause] that the purpose of the constitution, as thomas jefferson put it, is to serve as change to bind the mischief of government. [applause] senator cruz: the incredible opportunity of the american dream, what has enabled millions of people from all over the world to come to america with nothing and to achieve anything.
and then, the american exceptionalism that has made this nation a clarion voice for freedom in the world, a shining city on a hill. that is the promise of america. that is what makes this nation an indispensable nation, a unique nation in the history of the world. and yet, so many fear that that promise is unattainable today. so many fear it is slipping away from our hands. i want to talk to you this morning about reigniting the promise of america. 240 years ago, on this very day, a 38-year-old lawyer named patrick henry --
[applause] senator cruz: -- stood up 100 miles from here in richmond, virginia and said "give me liberty or give me death." [applause] senator cruz: i want to ask each of you to imagine, imagine millions of courageous conservatives all across america rising up together to say in unison, "we demand our liberty." [applause] senator cruz: today, roughly half of born-again christians are not voting. they are staying home.
imagine instead millions of people of faith all across america coming out to the polls and voting our values. today, millions of young people are scared, worried about the future, worried what the future will hold. imagine millions of young people coming together and standing together saying, we will stand for liberty. [applause] senator cruz: think just how different the world would be. imagine, instead of economic stagnation, booming economic growth. [applause]
senator cruz: instead of small businesses going out of business at record numbers, imagine small business is growing and prospering. imagine young people coming out of school with 4, 5, 6 job offers. [applause] senator cruz: imagine innovation thriving on the internet as government regulators and tax collectors are kept at bay and more and more opportunity is created. [applause] senator cruz: imagine america finally becoming energy self-sufficient, as millions and millions of high-paying jobs are created. [applause]
senator cruz: five years ago today, the president signed obamacare into law. [booing] [laughter] senator cruz: within hours liberty university went to court filing a lawsuit against it. [applause] senator cruz: instead of the joblessness, instead of the millions forced into part-time work, instead of the millions who have lost their health insurance, lost their doctors and faced skyrocketing health insurance premiums, imagine, in 2017, a new president signing legislation repealing every word of obamacare. [applause]
senator cruz: imagine health care reform that keeps government out of the way between you and your doctor and makes health insurance personal and affordable and portable. [applause] senator cruz: instead of a tax code that crushes innovation that imposes burdens on families struggling to make ends meet imagine a simple, flat tax. that lets every american fill out his or her taxes on a postcard. [applause]
senator cruz: imagine abolishing the irs. instead of the lawlessness and the president's unconstitutional executive amnesty, imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders. [applause] senator cruz: and imagine a legal immigration system that welcomes and celebrates those that come to achieve the american dream. instead of a federal government
that wages an assault on our religious liberty, that goes after hobby lobby, that goes after the little sisters of the poor, that goes after liberty university, imagine a federal government that stands for the first amendment rights of every american. [applause] senator cruz: instead of a federal government that works to undermine our values, imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life. [applause] senator cruz: and to uphold the sacrament of marriage.
instead of a government that works to undermine our second amendment rights, that seeks to ban our ammunition, imagine a federal government that protects the right to keep and bear arms. [applause] senator cruz: instead of a government that seizes your e-mails and your cell phones imagine a federal government that protects the privacy rights of every american. [applause] senator cruz: instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum
through common core -- [applause] senator cruz: -- imagine repealing every word of common core. [applause] senator cruz: imagine and embracing school choice, the civil rights issue of the next generation. that every single child, regardless of race, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of wealth or zip code, every child in america has a right to a quality education. [applause] senator cruz: and that is true from all of the above, whether it is a public school or charter school or private school or christian school or parochial
united nations to end run congress and the american people, imagine a president who says, i will honor the constitution and, under no circumstances, will iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. [applause] senator cruz: imagine a president who says, we will stand up and defeat radical islamic terrorism. and we will call it by its name. [applause] sen. cruz: we will defend the united states of america. now all of these seem difficult. indeed, to some, they may seem unimaginable.
and yet, if you look in the history of our country, imagine it is 1775 and you and i, we are sitting there in richmond listening to patrick henry say "give me liberty or give me death." imagine it is 1776 and we were watching the 54 signers of the declaration of independence stand together and pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to igniting the promise of america. imagine it was 1777 and we were watching general washington as he lost battle after battle after battle in the freezing cold, as soldiers with no shoes were dying fighting for freedom against the most powerful army in the world.
that, too, seemed unimaginable. imagine it is 1933 and we were listening to franklin delano roosevelt tell america, at a time of crushing depression, at a time of a gathering storm abroad, that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. imagine it is 1979 and you and i were listening to ronald reagan -- [applause] senator cruz: -- and he was telling us that we would cut the top marginal tax rates from 70% all the way down to 28%, that we would go from crushing stagnation to booming economic growth, to millions being lifted out of poverty and into
prosperity and abundance, that the very day he was sworn in our hostages who were languishing in iran would be released. and that within a decade, we would win the cold war and tear the berlin wall to the ground. that would have seemed unimaginable. and yet, with the grace of god that is exactly what happened. [applause] senator cruz: from the dawn of this country and at every stage, america has enjoyed god's providential blessing. over and over again, when we faced impossible odds, the american people rose to the challenge.
you know, compared to that repealing obama care and abolishing the irs ain't all that tough. [laughter] senator cruz: the power of the american people, when we rise up and stand for liberty, knows no bounds. [applause] senator cruz: if you are ready to join a grassroots army across this nation, coming together and standing for liberty, i'm going to ask you to break a rule here today and to take out your cell phones and to text the word "constitution" to the number 33733. you can also text "imagine." we are versatile. [laughter]
senator cruz: once again, text "constitution" to 33733. god's blessing has been on america from the very beginning of this nation and i believe god is not done with america yet. [applause] senator cruz: i believe in you. i believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of america. that is why, today, i am announcing that i am running for president of the united states. [applause] [applause]
conservatives, as we come together to reclaim the promise of america, to reclaim the mandate, the hope and opportunity for our children and our children's children. we stand together for liberty. [applause] senator cruz: this is our fight. the answer will not come from washington. it will come only from the men and women across this country, from men and women, from people of faith, from lovers of liberty, from people who respect the constitution. it will only come as it has come at every other time of challenge from this country, when the american people stand together and say, we will get back to the principles that have made this country great, we will get back
♪ >> "washington journal" is next. the house is back at 10:00 eastern for morning hours speeches. they will begin debate on the gop budget plan for 2016. watch live coverage on c-span. coming up this hour, we will talk to texas congressman michael burgess on a bill that will change a medicare reimburses doctors and tries to eliminate the need for the so-called "doc fix."
then representative gwen moore will talk about the democrats' fix. then we will talk about oil and gas. then we will have time for your comments and tweet. ♪ host: good morning. as tuesday, march 24, 2015. the house and senate are in session. congress continues to work through a busy legislative week. the white house, president obama is set whole beatings and ea joint press conference. the 2016 presidential field, a day after senator ted cruz officially threw his hat into that race. as many as four freshmen senators being talked about